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Edit 50 sites via a template

  Asked By: Virendra    Date: Aug 20    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 1266

I want to create a site with 50 subsites, but I want to be able, in
the future, to edit all of those sites. I am thinking to create some kind of
template. Is there a way that I can make a change to a template of some sort
and have it affect all 50 subsites based on it - kind of like how a CSS file
works for an html page?



21 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Hema Pasupuleti     Answered On: Aug 20

I will encourage you to to study some stuff regarding Site Templates and
Site Definitions in SharePoint.

Your solution will be a Site Definition but it has some limitations (infact alot
of limitations).

It depends what kind  of editing you want to do. If it is UI editing like CSS,
Master page, moving web part zones around etc, you can do it.
But SharePoint designer related editing will not be supported.

If it is content editing, which includes creating a new list or adding a new
web part on a page, you will need a Site Definition and Feature Stapling but
Feature stapling has its own caveats which is a long story.

But you should start safely by creating a Site Definition.

Answer #2    Answered By: Candis Kinney     Answered On: Aug 20

I'm not sure I understand why SPD editing wouldn't be appropriate. If
you're editing a master page  or CSS file, why would the editing tool matter?

Answer #3    Answered By: Cora Bradshaw     Answered On: Aug 20

I wanted to say any editing like creating data views or forms web parts etc but
that goes into content editing which should be done by feature stapling.

Answer #4    Answered By: Shushma Zariwala     Answered On: Aug 20

Just be aware that a site  Definition is used like a blueprint. Changing it
after a site is built will not change  the site that was already built. Only new
sites built later.

Answer #5    Answered By: Bahadur Kotoky     Answered On: Aug 20

If you want to affect the look and feel of the 50 subsites  you can do that
through either an uncustomized master page  or custom CSS. Other than that
it would depend on what kind  of change  you wanted to make. Can you give me
an example of what you want to do?

Answer #6    Answered By: Jeremey Avery     Answered On: Aug 20

Why uncustomized??????????????

Answer #7    Answered By: Mariel Ferrell     Answered On: Aug 20

A master page  customized using SharePoint Designer is stored in the content
database of the site  and only affects that one site. (With the exception of
Publishing site collections where all sites  look to the top level site
master page gallery for their master pages). An uncustomized master page
stored in the 12 hive can be changed at will and all sites using the
uncustomized version will change  whether publishing is turned on or not.

Answer #8    Answered By: Santana Osborn     Answered On: Aug 20

Okay, please help me to understand. Can I name this master page  whatever I
like? I have explored enough in SPD to know where to find the master page.
What is a "12 hive"? And this master page will serve as long as I don't
customize the site  pages based  on it? So, then, if I customize with SPD a site
based on the master page, then it is somehow loosed from receiving anything from
the master page?

Answer #9    Answered By: David Brown     Answered On: Aug 20

Well, I am a Catholic Religious Brother, and I am in charge of creating a site
to manage 90 chapels that our Order is in charge of. My Superior has been
wanting this finished now for two months, but I am fighting the learning curve.
I need to create  50 sites, one for each chapel to hold information relating to
property and legal issues, accounting information, etc. I know I could build a
template and copy that template  to multiply sites, but I just know - I know! -
that once I have multiplied the site  50 times that I will have to go back and
add a web part or change  some title or caption, etc. I am rather new at all of
this. I know some basic html  and basic programming, and I know how to edit  CSS
and HTML. I have played around a bit in the Sharepoint Designer too. We are
running Wss3.

Answer #10    Answered By: Daamodar Bhadranavar     Answered On: Aug 20

You are evidently used to using something like Dreamweaver templates. WSS
doesn't make use of anything like a Dreamweaver template  except a master

Answer #11    Answered By: Destiny Lewis     Answered On: Aug 20

So then, I can create  a master page  named "MyTemplate" which can dictate
to the 50 sites  any changes I make to that master?

Answer #12    Answered By: Tanisha Rowe     Answered On: Aug 20

As long as the master page  is created and deployed as an uncustomized master
page, then yes. However, creating and using an uncustomized master page
requires direct access to the file system of the server. It can't be done
using SharePoint Designer. Since you are in a hosted environment I doubt
you have that capability.

Answer #13    Answered By: Sierra Lewis     Answered On: Aug 20

Why does it have to be an uncustomized master? Why can't it work from a
customized one? Then what you are telling me is that if I want to edit  my 50
sites I have to make 50 edits?

Answer #14    Answered By: Dwight Becker     Answered On: Aug 20

Yes. The difference between an uncustomized and a customized master page  is
where it lives. An uncustomized master page sits on the file system of the
SharePoint server in what we affectionately call the 12 hive. The location is
usually, c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server
extensions\12. This is where SharePoint installs its core system files. When you
customize a master page for a site, a copy of the master from the 12 hive is
then placed into the content database of the site  you have done your
customizations for. The site then no longer looks to the file on the server but
instead uses its own customized version. So yes, if you customize 50 sites, you
have 50 different master pages, one for each site that would then need to be
edited individually any time you want to make a change.

On the other hand, if you create  a custom master page and place it into the 12
hive as an uncustomized master (note the slight distinction here) you can then
reference that file as the master page for your sites  and only maintain a single
file. So, an uncustomized master page can be a custom master page that you
create and add to the file system.

Answer #15    Answered By: Amar Kumbar     Answered On: Aug 20

It has to be an uncustomized master because uncustomized masters are stored
on the filing system of the server and referenced by each site  that uses it.
When you customize a master page  with SharePoint designer a copy of the
master is saved to the content database for that particular site and the
master page now applies to that site and that site only. Using SPD to
customize the master pages of 50 sites  you will end up with 50 different
copies that will all need to be edited individually from then on.

If you had MOSS instead of just WSS you can alleviate some of this problem
by turning on Publishing. When you turn on Publishing each site in a site
collection looks to the master page gallery of the top level site for its
master page. If all 50 sites were in the same site collection then they
could all use the same customized master stored in the top level site of the
site collection. Since you are on WSS that isn't an option.

Answer #16    Answered By: Marc Dixon     Answered On: Aug 20

Okay, well, I don't have MOSS, and am stuck for a year with wss3 and the
maintenance of not 50, but 105 similar subsites. I can see how to get to the
files folders either through Windows Explorer or through SPD. I can also copy
the actual files from the sharepoint server to my local disk. What do you think
about doing a search and replace through the aspx files? I understand I would
have to know just what to search for and just what to replace. Then I could
just reload the entire files set back to the server and save over the old ones.
I would just have to be careful and also keep a backup. But, in principle, what
do you think?

Answer #17    Answered By: Johathan Mcgowan     Answered On: Aug 20

Not the way I would prefer to do it, but in principle it would work.

Answer #18    Answered By: Georgia Barr     Answered On: Aug 20

what would you do? I am quite interested! Actually, I prefer
if you would convince me to do it another way.

Answer #19    Answered By: Jessi Sweet     Answered On: Aug 20

Given your current situation and
environment there is no really good solution. You can manually download and
edit the files with Search and Replace, which runs the risk of ending up
with a system that simply doesn't work. Or you can edit  each site
individually using SharePoint Designer and the user interface. Or you can
tear it all down and start over by building one site  the way you want it,
saving it as a template  and using it to create  the other sites. None of
those are particularly good choices. If you had done some planning and
study beforehand you could have avoided a lot of these problems.

So, as advice for some of the other people out there who are new to
SharePoint here are some suggestions:

1. Set up a test server or virtual pc to learn SharePoint before you
start building your production environment.

2. Get a book and read blogs posted on the Internet about SharePoint.
Don't make assumptions that it works like you expect it to.

3. Before signing a contract for a hosted environment check what the
limitations are on the level of hosting you are signing up for.

4. Read the documentation to find out what the level of SharePoint you
are purchasing is capable of, and what it can't do.

5. Above all else, plan thoroughly before you start building your
production environment. Failure to plan can lead to a lot of extra work

So, in answer to your question. My preference would have been to plan the
system before implementation to either use a level of the product that
allowed centralized customization, or sign on to a hosting agreement that
supported centralized customization, or at least develop a site template
that could have been used to create all the sites  so they don't need to be
edited later. But since you didn't do any of those you are left with the
choice of tearing it all down and starting over or editing each of the sites
or files individually. That's not a good solution, but given the choices
you've already committed to its the only one you really have available.

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but the reality is that your problems stem
from a lack of planning not a shortcoming of the product.

Answer #20    Answered By: Kelvin Mckinney     Answered On: Aug 20

I wasn't at all offended. I really was asking what
you would do. I have not created 50 sites  yet, and was indeed *planning* on
building one site, getting it perfect, and copying it. I was sort of thrown
into all this, knowing absolutely nothing about sharepoint, and given a deadline
to have the site  open. Okay. I practice on a "test site" before I do anything.
I even have a sharepoint book as well as a collection of resources online for
information and tricks. This forum is one of the best (much sincere thanks to
yourself!). So, not knowing much about sharepoint, nor, necessarily what was
necessary, I signed on with the hosting provider. I wish I could have gotten
more, and I still could upgrade the plan, but it costs too much, and their
prices are competitive. To know what I know now about Sharepoint would have
taken me months of reading and practice. For some people it is faster learning
by doing. Finally, my problems are not due to a lack of planning. The
questions I have been asking are prior to doing the work! But no, I have not
been in the least offended, and I really appreciate your and the others' help.

Answer #21    Answered By: Gaurav Ghosh     Answered On: Aug 20

If you haven't built all the sites  yet then there is one thing that will
help with the initial editing.

1. Build one site  the way you want to sites to look and act. (Build
one for each type if you have different kinds of sites that you will need)

2. Go to Site Actions > Site Settings and in the Look and Feel Column
select the Save Site as template  link.

3. Fill out the page  that comes up and save the sample site as a

4. This Template will now show up on a custom tab with the other site
templates when you build a new site. Each site will be mostly a mirror
image of the original. The main thing that won't copy are security related
items like user, groups, and permissions. Since new sites inherit
permissions by default this isn't normally a problem.

That will help with initial build out. Unfortunately, site templates in
SharePoint are like blueprints. Once something is built from a blueprint
modifying the blueprint won't change  existing structures. The same is true
of site templates. Future changes will need to be done for each site

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